When you want to buy a firearm in Pennsylvania, you have to go through a rigorous process. You must fill out various forms and wait for the results of a background check. In many cases, a gun purchaser in Pennsylvania is approved within minutes. However, the background check may reveal something you did not indicate on the forms. In this scenario, the seller will contact the police. This can lead to your arrest, and possible misdemeanor or felony charges for lying on a gun purchase application.
If you are accused of lying on the forms, do not try to clear up this misunderstanding with the police yourself. Instead, contact a false statements on a gun purchase application lawyer as soon as possible. As an experienced Pennsylvania gun lawyer, Michael J. Skinner of the Skinner Law Firm is here to help you avoid criminal charges for innocent mistakes. The legalese on these forms can be confusing – even misleading in some instances. We have worked with many individuals who filed an inaccurate form by accident and are not guilty of any crime. To talk with us about your case, call (610) 436-1410 and schedule a free consultation.
To purchase a rifle, shotgun, or long gun in Pennsylvania, you need to be at least 18 years old and have a Pennsylvania ID. To purchase a handgun, you need to be at least 21 years old with a Pennsylvania ID. Then, you need to be ready to fill out the paperwork completely and accurately. Failing to do intentionally or by accident can lead to an arrest and criminal charges.
Whether you are purchasing a rifle, shotgun, or handgun, you must undergo a background check. You will fill out ATF Form 4473 for the National Instant Check System and PA Form SP4-113. The forms ask about your criminal record, personal mental health history, alcohol and drug use, and military discharge status. You must sign a certification, which means you can be penalized for any false information on the forms.
If you lawfully own a gun and want a License to Carry a Firearm, you must fill out PA Form SP4-127 with your local sheriff’s office.
During either process, purchasing a gun or obtaining an LCF, you must provide accurate and complete information to the government agency. If the seller or sheriff finds incomplete or inaccurate information, a prosecutor may charge you with making false statements on a gun purchase application.
Under 18 PA Cons Stat §6111(g)(4), a prosecutor can charge you with a third-degree felony if, while purchasing, delivering, or transferring a firearm, you knowingly and intentionally:
A third-degree felony is punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
For a prosecutor to convict you of this offense, they must prove you gave false information knowingly and intentionally. For example, the prosecutor might try to prove you purposefully lied on a gun background check to get around the law. If you made a genuine mistake on the form, we would vigorously defend you. We may be able to present evidence of your lack of intent to the prosecutor and get the charges dismissed.
Under 18 PA Cons Stat §4904, a prosecutor will charge you with a second-degree misdemeanor if you, with the intent to mislead a public servant performing their official function:
A second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
A prosecutor can charge you with a third-degree misdemeanor if you make a false written statement that you do not believe to be true on a form.
A third-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
You might make a critical mistake when filling out forms to purchase a firearm. We often work with individuals who accidentally answer questions wrong about:
To avoid common mistakes, you must read the forms very carefully. You should never guess at an answer. If you are unsure, speak with an attorney about the appropriate answers on the form and whether you are disqualified from purchasing a firearm.
Attorney Michael J. Skinner has years of experience helping Pennsylvania residents defend their right to bear arms, granted to them. Both the federal and Pennsylvania governments greatly restrict who can buy, sell, own, and use a firearm, as well as where lawfully owned firearms can be carried and used. All of these restrictions can be difficult to track, and a simple misunderstanding can lead to unnecessary misdemeanor and felony charges.
Whether you are facing charges for unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful concealment, unlawful discharge of a firearm, or false statements on a gun purchase application, we are here to help. Attorney Skinner will scrutinize each piece of evidence and identify the weaknesses as well as clear mistakes.
Depending on the circumstances, we may fight to have the charges dropped or dismissed. This may be possible if we can show you made an innocent oversight and lacked the necessary intent to commit a crime. Or, we may pursue an acquittal at trial or take steps to mitigate the consequences of a potential conviction.
When you are not used to filling out official government forms, it is all too easy for complicated legal language to confuse you. Without realizing it, you may answer an important question incorrectly. The disparity between the results of your background check and your signed forms may lead a seller to turn you into the police. From there, a prosecutor may choose to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony. If you’re charged with making false statements on a gun application in or around Chester County, Skinner Law Firm is here to defend your rights.